Rugby World Cup: All Blacks forwards coach Jason Ryan gushes over unsung hero Scott Barrett

At 1.98m and more than 111kg, it's hard to believe Scott Barrett's been in anyone's shadow, but with All Blacks stars for brothers, that's often been the case.

While Beauden and Jordie hog the highlights reels with their electrifying attack, Scott's performances are often overlooked in the second row, but they haven't gone unnoticed by his All Blacks mentors, with forwards coach Jason Ryan expecting further greatness from the already experienced campaigner.

Brodie Retalick and Sam Whitelock have formed one of the greatest locking partnerships rugby's ever seen, but injuries to the aging veterans have afforded more opportunities for the always reliable Barrett.

He played the role as the senior second-rower, alongside young Josh Lord, in last week's win over Argentina and didn't disappoint.

With Retallick and Whitelock entering their swansongs - and both heading offshore next year - Barrett is an outside chance to lead the All Blacks next year, with former Crusaders coach Scott Robbertson at the helm.

With more than 50 test caps to his name, Barrett could go on to become one of the finest ever to don the black jersey, says Ryan.

"I think Scooter's in some great form and I think he's going to be a great All Black," he said. "He takes a lot of immense pride in his body and puts a lot into his mental resilience.

"He called the lineout for us on the weekend and did that outstandingly. His relationship with Damian [McKenzie] at No.10, there are a lot of variants to his game on that side of it.

"Strategically, it's probably going unnoticed, as well as his physicality, he's in great shape and he will only get better."

Scott Barrett lines up behind Josh Lord in the All Blacks lineout
Scott Barrett lines up behind Josh Lord in the All Blacks lineout. Photo credit: Photosport

While Ryan was impressed with Barrett and the rest of the All Blacks forward pack in their Rugby Championship-opening win over Argentina, he still isn't satisfied.

A much stiffer test awaits them at God Media Stadium Mt Smart on Saturday against the world champion Springboks, but that's exactly what they want.

"She's going to be in a title fight, it's a lot different of a contest this week than last week…so satisfied? Nah, not really.

"We keep building, but really proud of the step we made. It's a test match we hear so much about, with the legacy of the All Blacks, with the guys that have played a large number of matches... it's a bit of a marker.

"Respectively, I think the Boks think the same about the All Blacks. That's exciting isn't it?

"It's going to be a pretty special test match.

"Guys used to love touring Africa and vice versa. We don't get many against them now and get to test ourselves against big forwards packs, which is what it's going to be at the end of the year, with them and France. 

"I think this has come at a good time actually."

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